Integral – 2.30 Ascot (Saturday)
Both Skybet and Betfred have pushed the son of Galileo out to 7-2 for the Group 1 race – won in 2011 by the great Frankel – a price which is certain to shorten, should Aidan O’Brien give the go-ahead after walking the course on Friday evening.
Despite the ground at Ascot drying out all the time, it is unlikely conditions will be any better than good-to-soft come 2.30pm on Saturday afternoon – resulting in the horse described by his handler as “The best miler I have trained” being saved for a tilt at the Breeders’ Cup Classic at the end of the month.
While the French-trained favourite is sure to take plenty of beating – Gleneagles or no Gleneagles – the Singspiel gelding has been on the go since early March and, despite a break of two and a half months, may struggle to recapture his earlier brilliant form that included a victory over Esoterique in Royal Ascot’s Queen Anne Stakes back in June.
The Clive Cox-trained Kodi Bear has been in terrific form of late and looks sure to go well – along with one of the two Godolphin contenders Territories – but, at the 20-1 available with Betfair Sportsbook, the Cheveley Park runner Integral can cause a massive upset on her final start for trainer Sir Michael Stoute before retirement looms.
At her best over a mile with some cut in the ground, the daughter of Dalakhani should have her ideal conditions at the weekend and a recent narrow second to Esoterique in Newmarket’s Sun Chariot Stakes should put the five-year-old spot-on for her final race – following a break of almost three and a half months.
A disappointing run in the Duke Of Cambridge Stakes at the Royal meeting can be put down to the firm ground, but there will be no reason for excuses on this occasion and the mare looks great value to make the frame at the very least if she’s able to reproduce her victory over 1000 Guineas winner Miss France and company at Newmarket 12 months ago.
1 Point each-way Integral 20-1 Betfair Sportsbook